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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Luke 24:36-53

Jesus has the last word. He appears to his disciples yet again, and his word is "Peace." It is worth pondering that the most common words God speaks in scripture are "don't be afraid" and "peace." The presence of God is a rock, an anchor, in the face of our daily anxieties. He is solid truth over against our vacillations. The resurrected Jesus, victorious over the grave and every other fear we face, speaks peace.

Imagine them in that room, groping with a new, expanded reality. Jesus continues to speak, reassuring them in the face of what they thought was true. In among his words are some absolute treasures. "Why are you troubled? Why do you doubt?" Well, Jesus, you were dead just a bit ago. We're having trouble catching up. Just to make things clearer–and harder to grasp–Jesus adds, "touch me and see my hands and feet, that it is I myself." At one level Jesus is dealing with their doubts. Yes, it's really me. You can believe your eyes. This is not wishful thinking. The love you've known, the grander vision you've experienced, is real.

At another level Jesus is speaking theologically, speaking about the truth of God. He says, "it is I myself" and in the Greek it is ego eimi which just happens to be (as we have noted before) the exact words God uses to name himself to Moses. Jesus says "See my hands and feet, that I AM." The resurrected Jesus names himself as God, just in case we were starting to get our heads (and hearts) around the fact that he's alive in the first place.

I AM, who met Moses at the burning bush, who rescued the Israelites from Egypt, who placed David on the throne, who dropped fire on Mount Carmel at Elijah's word, who rescued the Jews from death through Esther's beautiful courage, I AM is risen from the grave, and death is no longer a period at the end of the sentence. At most it's a semi-colon. The story goes on for eternity.

Now, Jesus says, get to work. Repentance and the forgiveness of sins are to be proclaimed to all nations. What God promised when he called Abraham, that from this one new nation he would bring blessing to all the nations, is going to be fulfilled. Everyone is welcome. You've seen it; you've experienced it. Your testimony is important. As Jesus has welcomed you and spoken his love into your heart, go welcome and love the least, lost, broken ones. Live the joy and gratitude that comes from being caught up in Jesus' resurrection. This is not the end of the story, not at all. It is only the beginning.

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